Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Baker Mayfield: Bucs Starting to See What Offense is Capable Of

Tampa Bay's quarterback competition continues, and with it the offense is beginning to take shape under new coordinator Dave Canales


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished their seventh training camp practice on Thursday with a pair of move-the-ball two-minute drills. Unfortunately, neither one of them found the end zone. The first-team defense stopped the first-team offense near midfield when Baker Mayfield was forced to scramble on fourth down and was deemed not to reached the sticks. Kyle Trask and the second-team offense did get down inside the five-yard line but was also thwarted on fourth down by a good tackle from rookie safety Kedrick Whitehead on fellow rookie Payne Durham.

But the practice was a long one, originally scheduled for 150 minutes, and there were plenty of moments that were more pleasing for those rooting for offensive success. (The confounding part of training camp is that every victory for half of your team is a loss for the other half.) The Bucs worked on a variety of specific game situations, from blitzing to red zone to third-and-long and stayed focused despite another steamy morning at the AdventHealth Training Center.

"I liked the concentration part," said Head Coach Todd Bowles at the end of the field session. "The energy is there; we just have to continue to get better at situational football. That is what we were working on today."

For the quarterback position, this year's training camp is a competition and a work in progress rolled into one. While Mayfield and Trask continue to battle for the starting job and continue to alternate first-team work from practice to practice, they are also at the dead center of the process of installing new Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales' system. Mayfield, who was running with the ones on Thursday morning, saw progress in both his own play and in the offense's execution as a whole.

"Yeah, I think today was better than the previous two," he said, accounting for the three days the Buccaneers have practiced in pads. "I think when you get the pads on for quarterbacks – bodies are flying around but you still have to just go through your reads [and] take care of the ball. You're taking chances and trying stuff out during camp, but it still comes back to taking care of the ball.

"Today was a better day for the offense overall and better for me, as well. We're stringing it together. The installs are slowing down – it's becoming smaller and smaller based on what we're really teaching. We have a lot in. These 'call-it' periods, where we're really just playing football, and move-the-ball periods, are really coming together."

The Buccaneers are coming off the best four-year stretch of offensive production in franchise history. From 2019-22, Tampa Bay's offense ranked first in the NFL in passing yards, third in points and total yards, fifth in first downs and eighth in third-down conversion rate. Tom Brady was at the helm for the last three of those four years, of course, and is now retired, necessitating the current competition between Mayfield and Trask. The offense wasn't perfect in that span, most notably ranking last in rushing yards, capped by the franchise's worst rushing season ever in 2022. The Bucs hope to find more balance in Canales' system but notably have a lot of returning talent around the quarterbacks. Mayfield says the competition is helping all of the Bucs' quarterbacks, including third-string John Wolford, figure out how to make the most of those weapons.

"It's great for everybody, to be honest with you," said Mayfield. "When the quarterback room is having success, it shows what this offense can be capable of. We're distributors within this system – just getting the ball out, it's not like we're trying to hone in on one guy. Yeah, there will be specific plays where we want to get a guy open, but for right now it's taking what the defense gives you. The past few days, yeah, Kyle and John have had great practices of just doing that – going through the system, getting the ball out and making the reads.

"I think people are starting to see what we're going to be capable of, and obviously, as we get used to pads more and more, the run game will get going as well. It's just slowly coming together."

Latest Headlines